BATESVILLE, INDIANA — The number of Batesville Community School Corporation (BCSC) third graders who passed the Indiana Reading Evaluation and Determination (IREAD-3) assessment during the 2022-23 school year landed the school corporation at the top of the list of all area schools and in the top 10 of all schools who took the assessment statewide, according to a report released by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). IREAD-3 is one of the ways schools can determine the number of their students who have mastered foundational reading by the end of the third grade.
“Batesville Intermediate School (BIS) students led southeastern Indiana with an outstanding pass rate of 97.9%,” said BCSC superintendent Paul Ketcham. “That rate exceeded the state’s goal of 95%, and earned BCSC an eighth-place ranking in the entire state—third place, if only public schools are considered. This is a tremendous achievement for our school corporation.”
Statewide, nearly one in five Hoosier third graders is still struggling to read at this key milestone, according to information provided by IDOE. The State of Indiana has launched several key initiatives, such as the Indiana Literacy Cadre, to help close the gap. Considering the unique set of circumstances these students experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Batesville’s achievement stands out all the more.
“Our current fourth graders—whose scores are reflected in the IDOE results—missed part of their kindergarten year due to the pandemic and then endured a first-grade year of masks and quarantines, not to mention multiple other modifications to their learning environment,” explained Brad Stoneking, Batesville Primary School (BPS) principal. “In second grade, we administered the IREAD to them, even though it wasn’t required, so we could gauge what adjustments, if any, needed to made to keep them on track.”
Once that group of students entered BIS for third grade last year, the literacy work continued. Using feedback provided by the staff at BPS, as well as the initial IREAD results, BIS principal Dana Cassidy and her team developed a plan.
“We can attribute this success to the hard work and dedication of all of BCSC’s Pre-K through grade three educators,” Cassidy said. “They have worked tirelessly to find the most effective methods of reading instruction and intervention. I am so very thankful to BPS for the willingness to institute the second grade IREAD assessment, which provided our team with relevant and early data. We added another teacher and an interventionist to ensure our students would succeed.”
Ketcham believes that Batesville’s commitment to opening the schools when it was safe to do so, coupled with a team of educators willing to find a path forward without losing momentum, was the right combination for success.
“We made in-person learning a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic because we knew how crucial it was in their academic journey for students to be in the classroom with our teachers,” Ketcham stated. “Then our teams banded together to develop educational plans that worked, based on what they were observing. We are now reaping the benefits of those efforts, as our students are not exhibiting the learning losses that many others are. We are proud of our students, parents, administrators, and educators for this incredible accomplishment.”